SUSSEX, NB – After 11-years of being cancer-free, Mrs. Dunster’s co-CEO Blair Hyslop recently decided to throw away the face mask he wore for radiation treatment for a rare form of cancer called Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP).
“I thought, why am I keeping this around for anymore?’ So I just made a [Facebook] post about it,” says Hyslop. “It was something I thought about a little bit because it wasn’t something I talked about. Many people who saw that post for the first time thought I had [just] come through cancer treatments, even though it was 11 years ago.”
His Facebook post reflected on his time in treatment, including how he listened to Great Big Sea, one of his favourite bands, while undergoing radiation.
“I thought if I was going to bring music to calm my nerves, naturally I was going to bring Great Big Sea. We just moved to Ontario from the East Coast and you’re kind of out of your element. It just reminds you of home and calms you down,” says Hyslop.
“That was a routine. I would go in, give them the CD. They would put on Great Big Sea and they would start the treatment. I even converted a few of the radiation techs to Great Big Sea while we were there.”
The December 6 post got a huge response, with Hyslop getting lots of shares and heartfelt comments.
“A lot of people sent me private messages talking about the impact cancer had on their lives or people they knew, and other things,” he says. “It was quite shocking. I wasn’t really expecting that. I was just making my own little declaration that I have gone through this and I was ready to go on now.”
But what Hyslop really didn’t expect was the package he received a few days ago after returning from vacation: It was from an “A. Doyle” in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
“I just didn’t believe it. I just looked at it and thought, ‘there can’t be two A. Doyles in St. John’s Newfoundland, this has to be the Alan Doyle and why would I be getting something from Alan Doyle?’ ”
Inside was a signed copy of the Great Big Sea front man’s book, A New Newfoundlander In Canada: Always Going Somewhere, Always Coming Home. The inside description read:
“Blair, I hear you’ve been fighting the good fight, and coming out on top. So good to hear you are on the mend. Cheers from Newfoundland – Alan Doyle”
“It took me a while to connect the dots on his comments on ‘fighting the good fight and coming out on top’ and all that,” says Hyslop. “It was something he obviously didn’t have to do.”
Hyslop says he doesn’t know for sure who made Doyle aware of his Facebook post.
“It’s got to be a friend of a friend, that’s my guess. I have a few suspicions,” he says. “Atlantic Canada is two degrees of separation, so somebody knows somebody who knows him and must have forwarded it along.”
He says Doyle’s heartwarming gesture shows the kind spirit of Atlantic Canadians.
“We try to live the values of using your superpowers for good and being proud Maritimers and Atlantic Canadians. All our heroes are from here, so it’s heartwarming to see people like him leading by example and doing a thing like that. We need more people like him on the planet.”
Find Cherise Letson’s full story at Huddle HERE.